National Geographic : 1949 Sep
4 Prosperity's Four Horses, Prancing Toward the St. Paul Skyline, Get a Scrubbing Workmen refurbish the golden quadriga at the base of the Minnesota State capitol dome (page 310). Holding high a standard and bearing a cornucopia, Prosperity rides a triumphal cart which seems about to soar out over the serried downtown section and Mississippi River water front of the busy capital city. The statuary group was executed by Daniel Chester French and Edward Potter. "How long since you husked corn by hand?" I asked. "I haven't husked an ear in years," he said. "I've got a mechanical corn picker." He milks by electricity and keeps no bull; his calves are sired by a syringe. One local veterinarian artificially inseminates 23000 cows a year. Many fields are in sugar beets or soybeans, the latter a product that has risen to major importance in the State in the last half-dozen years. Minnesota has jumped to sixth place among the States in production of this Asiatic legume, used for shortening, margarine, flour, meal, plastics, and the new foam fire-fighting material. In wheat it stands only 17th (page 334). Diversified farming is now the rule. Minne sota ranks second to Iowa in oats; fourth in corn, barley, and hay. When I chatted with a farmer on the street in St. James and asked him what he raised, he replied with an impish grin, "Oh, corn, beans, cowbirds, and a little hell." Mesabi, Iron Giant in the Earth As we flew over the iron country north and northwest of Duluth, great red holes gaped in low-swelling green hills, and even encroached on streets of towns, for mines not exhausted are constantly growing. We even saw a mine in the middle of a lake-dramatic evidence of what man will do to get the stuff for steel (page 309). Down through the woods crawled rusty hued caterpillars, ore trains bound for the docks at Duluth. Up puffed long strings of empties. On a day of destiny for Minnesota and the Nation, November 16, 1890, a test pit was dug by J. A. Nichols, of Duluth, near a point where wagon wheels had sunk through pine needles into powdery reddish "dirt." It yielded hematite, in this case 64 percent iron.